Good morning. It’s Earlybird, fetching you your morning feed of business, tech, and startup news, bundled into fun little bites.
In this edition:
🥗 A new Swiggy challenger, with a edge
⛏️ Lithium goldmine discovered
👁️ Clearview breaks privacy laws
*Stock data as of market close. Source.
Markets: Sensex managed to close in the green despite nervousness over inflation data from the US. The index, which has been volatile in recent weeks, was buoyed by gains in the IT and banking sectors.
FOOD & LOGISTICS
Suniel Shetty-backed startup enters food delivery game, commission-free
🥗 WAAYU, the latest food delivery contender in town backed by Bollywood celeb Suniel Shetty, is headed the zero-commission route. Here’s what you need to know:
An arena of giants. For years, Zomato and Swiggy have held a near-duopoly in India's food delivery market, with little competition in sight. However, new challengers have emerged, including the government's Open Network for Digital Commerce and Thrive.
Storming the segment
With its zero-commission approach, the WAAYU encourages restos to run on competitive pricing and pass on the benefits to their consumers.
WAAYU was launched on Monday (May 8) with the aim of freeing restaurants from the high commissions charged by dominant platforms like Swiggy and Zomato.
Backed by Bollywood actor and investor Suniel Shetty and the Mumbai-based Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), WAAYU was founded by Anirudha Kotgire and Mandar Lande in late 2022.
Growth vector. Total downloads: 25,000. Restos onboarded: 1,500 in Mumbai so far
Geologists strike lithium motherload in Rajasthan
Straight: out of an adventure movie
⛏️ Officials of the Rajasthan government and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) just discovered large reserves of lithium in the Degana municipality of Nagaur district in Rajasthan. More on the loot:
This discovery is significant, as it is believed to contain significantly more lithium than the 5.9 million tons recently found in Jammu and Kashmir.
The shiny new find is estimated to meet 80% of India's total demand for lithium.
Currently, India imports all its lithium needs, with China being the major source… until now.
Where it’s going. Lithium is a vital component in the production of rechargeable batteries for smartphones, laptops, and electric vehicles (EVs), which is why this discovery can provide a significant boost to India's electric mobility goals.
JSW Infrastructure files for $342M IPO
Giphy / Li-Anne Dias
📈 India's JSW Infrastructure has filed for a $342 million IPO with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), making it the latest in a long line of Indian firms to go public this year. Here’s what you need to know:
The company is a subsidiary of steel conglomerate JSW Group and provides logistics and infrastructure services to ports, terminals, and special economic zones across India.
The IPO will be used to fund the company's expansion plans, which include the development of a greenfield port at Jatadhari Muhan, near Paradip Port in Odisha.
With this IPO, JSW Infrastructure joins the likes of other recent Indian IPOs, such as Zomato and Nykaa, both of which have seen massive demand from investors.
Looking ahead. JSW Infra is off to a strong start. However, it remains to be seen if it can replicate the success of its league mates, especially with the recent volatility in the Indian stock markets.
INDIA EDITION: WHAT ELSE IS ON THE BIRDWATCH
📡 Cisco confirms India manufacturing plans. After months of speculation, Chuck Robbins, CEO of the multinational comtech giant Cisco has officially announced plans to start manufacturing its products in India.
📱 The government wants FM radio in all phones. It feels like the 2000s again. The Ministry of Electronics and IT is urging phone makers to keep FM radio on all mobile devices, in a move aimed at increasing accessibility to information and entertainment for citizens.
Paytm is going international. Indian digital payments company Paytm is planning to expand its presence beyond India by launching its UPI service in other countries.
Catch up on the Indian funding flows from the past 24hrs:
Agrizy, a startup that specializes in agri supply chain automation, has reaped a healthy $5M in debt funding from Trifecta Capital to expand its reach to more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
GenWorks Health, a company that provides digital healthcare solutions, has secured $4M in funding from alternative credit platform Blacksoil to enhance its product offerings and accelerate its expansion plans.
Tenor / Power Rangers
👁️ Clearview fined for breaking privacy laws. Clearview AI, the controversial facial recognition app, just got fined €17M (about $19M) by France's privacy watchdog, CNIL, for violating privacy laws. The fine comes after the CNIL found Clearview guilty of processing biometric data without obtaining the consent of individuals.
🐦️ Elon slams WhatsApp for privacy breach. Elon Musk took a dig at WhatsApp after reports of a privacy breach on the messaging app came to light. The breach involved WhatsApp’s continuous, unsanctioned use of a user’s microphone. And in true Elon fashion, the SpaceX exec took to Twitter to post “WhatsApp cannot be trusted.“
Testing waitlist lifted on Google’s Bard. Google After months of anticipation, Google has officially ended the waitlist for its language-learning chatbot, Bard, making the AI tool more widely available for people to explore, starting in English.
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